When images of this Mario and Raving Rabbids crossover first leaked last month, not many people seemed to notice or care. Maybe it was due to a general dislike of the usually annoying Rabbids, or the idea of pairing the generally straight-faced Mario with the manic Rabbids was too weird for most gamers. In either case, it was brushed aside and quickly forgotten. After Nintendo demonstrated the gameplay at E3, however, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle has captured some gamers’ attention (including my own.)
The biggest surprise was the game’s genre. Kingdom Battle plays like a turn-based tactical RPG–like Final Fantasy Tactics or XCOM: Enemy Unknown–and a pretty good one, at that. The battle mechanics are very XCOM-inspired, with players guiding their characters along a battlefield, either looking for cover, shooting enemies with laser beams, or completing objectives. The game challenges players not only to keep track of all their team members, but also the enemies as they move across the map.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle has players guiding Super Mario and Mario-themed Rabbids characters across the Mushroom Kingdom, which has been invaded by evil Rabbids. Along with the regular enemies, players will also have to face off against bosses including a giant Donkey Kong-like Rabbid and a Piranha Plant-Rabbid, which was featured in the playable demo Nintendo had on offer.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle may very well turn out to be the goofiest tactical RPG of all time, but it also looks like it’ll be a lot of fun to play.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle will launch August 29th for the Nintendo Switch.